Fleet must stop racing and head for port
The 12 Clipper yachts racing around the world have been ‘grounded’ over a rigging problem. Forestay bottlescrews have been failing and so the fleet have stopped racing and are heading to Hong Kong for checks.
‘There is clearly a fault with this part of the rigging and we are not prepared to take any risks with the remaining boats so far unaffected,’ said Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and chairman of race organisers Clipper Ventures.
‘In Hong Kong the forestay bottlescrews will be replaced with a system we have just had approved by the MCA surveyor.’
Hong Kong is 770 miles from the leading yacht’s present position and the best estimate of arrival is Saturday 1 March. The boats will be turned round as speedily as possible and then will start racing together to Qingdao.
The options for the Hong Kong to Qingdao leg are being assessed at present and further information will be forthcoming, but it appears unlikely that the Qingdao schedule will be affected very much, if at all, because of the availability of more direct routing options.
The forestay supports the mast and is also what the Yankee headsail is attached to. A few days ago Jamaica Get All Right suffered the first failure and diverted to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia; Last night PSP Logistics experienced the second failure, followed a few hours later by Derry~Londonderry~Doire.
The crew on board all the vessels are fine and well and conditions safe as a spare Yankee halyard is being used as a temporary forestay to stabilise the rig.
All of the boats will now make their way to Hong Kong. No points will be awarded and Race 9 will start afresh from Hong Kong to Qingdao. The yachts that have retired will therefore not be penalised and will rejoin the race from Hong Kong.